HARARE provincial magistrate Mr Elisha Singano has issued a fresh warrant allowing the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to search and seize all documents relevant to its investigations of whether or not University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Professor Levy Nyagura corruptly awarded former First Lady Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe a doctoral degree.
The same magistrate issued the first warrant on February 12 this year, but the High Court stopped its execution on February 16.
According to My Zimbabwe online, ZACC successfully applied for a fresh warrant, which was issued on February 19 this year.
The UZ says it got wind of the new search warrant on March 7.
In a bid to block the execution of the warrant, the UZ’s lawyers Chihambakwe, Mutizwa & Partners, filed an urgent chamber application seeking nullification of the document.
The High Court is yet to set the matter down for hearing.
Mr Singano directed the registrar or any other senior official at the UZ to provide a set of relevant documents, records and articles to the investigators.
The documents include Mrs Mugabe’s pre-registration application form, her research proposal submitted to the Department of Sociology, minutes of departmental board assigning a supervisor to Mrs Mugabe, academic certificates of her supervisor, minutes showing that the doctoral degree passed through the academic committee, and minutes of the UZ Senate recommending to the University Council the conferment of the doctorate to Mrs Mugabe.
Mr Singano also directed the university to allow ZACC access to minutes of the University Council recommending to the University Chancellor the conferment of the doctorate to Mrs Mugabe, copies of progress reports at Post Graduate Centre, copies of contract of research assistant and contract of teaching assistant in respect of Mr Justice Tandire.
ZACC must also be furnished with the UZ Faculty Ordinance number 44, UZ quality assurance guidelines and benchmarks for management and supervision of higher degrees by research, General Academic Regulations for Post-Graduate Degrees of the university of Zimbabwe 1998/99 Volume 11, as well as copies of the transcript, notification and Doctor of Philosophy Degree awarded to Mrs Mugabe.
In the urgent chamber application filed at the High Court on Thursday, the UZ argued the warrant of search and seizure was invalid. The affidavit relied upon by ZACC when applying for the warrant was fraught with inconsistencies, it said.
“From paragraphs 5,6,7, 8 and 9 of the affidavit, it is alleged that the accused person acted without knowledge and approval of various UZ officials, bodies and councils but the warrant seeks, in bulletin points 9,12, 13,14 and 15 to paragraph 13, minutes of meetings of the officials, bodies, and councils approving the process in which it is alleged that the accused acted without knowledge and approval,” reads the application.
The UZ also argued that the commissioning of the affidavit was questionable, rendering it defective and invalid.
“The person who signed as commissioner of oaths has a stamp which is not that of a commissioner of oaths,” reads the application.
“The stamp merely states that the person who signed is the officer-in-charge at Avondale Police Station. Further, the signing of an affidavit deposed to by a member of the ZRP by an alleged commissioner of oaths who is a member of the ZRP is a violation of Section 2(1) of the Justices of Peace and Commissioners of Oaths (General) Regulations, 1998 (SIB 183/1998).